WITH the numbers of coronavirus infections in the ACT doubling to 19 in a day, Chief Minister Andrew Barr says Canberrans should avoid all non-essential travel.
“The only travel outside of the Canberra region should be for work, for compassionate reasons, and to ensure the essential supplies and services that our region needs,” he said.
“This means no holidays on the south coast this Easter or school holidays, it means no weekends in Sydney or Melbourne.”
Following the advice of the Commonwealth Government, the ACT government is strongly urging Canberrans to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the Canberra region.
“The government will also be immediately reviewing all public spaces across the territory where gatherings may be occurring and closing them down,” the Chief Minister warns.
“If they are on Commonwealth land, then we will be asking the federal government to do the same.
“Stronger enforcement of self-isolation instructions to ensure people are doing the right thing and not potentially spreading the virus throughout the community will be considered at the National Cabinet this evening, with any new measures to be put in place in the territory as soon as possible.
“These are significant decisions that we are taking. We know that avoiding non-essential travel outside of the region will be difficult, and it will severely impact on the quality of life of Canberrans.
“However, there should be no greater priority for our community than to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19. The number of cases in the ACT are on the rise, and Canberrans need to only look at what is happening in other countries to know what the consequences are if the nation cannot ‘flatten the curve’ of the virus.
“Under this instruction, the only travel outside of the Canberra region should be for work, for ‘compassionate’ reasons and to ensure essential supplies and services.”
He says the government will work with surrounding councils in the coming days to confirm these arrangements, but as a general principle – people that rely on the ACT for employment, supplies or access to health and education will be considered as part of the Canberra region.
“We cannot stress the seriousness of the situation our country, and our city, is now facing. Every decision we are making is painful, and it will impact on our local economy.
“We are doing this to try and save lives, but it’s only effective if all Canberrans make the necessary changes to help slow the spread of the virus. More onerous measures will be adopted in the weeks ahead, and they are likely to be in place throughout the pandemic.”